French and Indian War

In this engrossing narrative of the great military conflagration of the mid-eighteenth century, Fred Anderson transports us into the maelstrom of international rivalries. With the Seven Years' War, Great Britain decisively eliminated French power north of the Caribbean — and in the process destroyed an American diplomatic system in which Native Americans had long played a central, balancing role — permanently changing the political and cultural landscape of North America.

Anderson skillfully reveals the clash of inherited perceptions the war created when it gave thousands of American colonists their first experience of real Englishmen and introduced them to the British cultural and class system. We see colonists who assumed that they were partners in the empire encountering British officers who regarded them as subordinates and who treated them accordingly. This laid the groundwork in shared experience for a common view of the world, of the empire, and of the men who had once been their masters. Thus, Anderson shows, the war taught George Washington and other provincials profound emotional lessons, as well as giving them practical instruction in how to be soldiers.

Depicting the subsequent British efforts to reform the empire and American resistance — the riots of the Stamp Act crisis and the nearly simultaneous pan-Indian insurrection called Pontiac's Rebellion — as postwar developments rather than as an anticipation of the national independence that no one knew lay ahead (or even desired), Anderson re-creates the perspectives through which contemporaries saw events unfold while they tried to preserve imperial relationships.

Interweaving stories of kings and imperial officers with those of Indians, traders, and the diverse colonial peoples, Anderson brings alive a chapter of our history that was shaped as much by individual choices and actions as by social, economic, and political forces.
A huge, ambitious re-creation of the eighteenth-century Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the pivotal battle in the Seven Years’ War (1754–1763) to win control of the trans-Appalachian region of North America, a battle consisting of the British and American colonists on one side and the French and the Iroquois Confederacy on the other, and leading directly to the colonial War of Independence and the creation of Canada.

It took five years of warfare fought on three continents—Europe, Asia, and North America—to bring the forces arrayed against one another—Britain, Prussia, and Hanover against France, Austria, Sweden, Saxony, Russia, and Spain (Churchill called it “the first world war”)—to the plateau outside Quebec City, on September 13, 1759, on fields owned a century before by a fisherman named Abraham Martin . . . It was the final battle of a three-month siege by the British Army and Navy of Quebec, the walled city that controlled access to the St. Lawrence River and the continent’s entire network of waterways; a battle with the British utilizing 15,000 soldiers, employing 186 ships, with hundreds of colonists aboard British warships and transports from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, with France sending in a mere 400 reinforcements in addition to its 3,500 soldiers.  

The battle on the Plains of Abraham lasted twenty minutes, and at its finish the course of a continent was changed forever . . . New military tactics were used for the first time against standard European formations . . . Generals Wolfe and Montcalm each died of gunshot wounds . . . France surrendered Quebec to the British, setting the course for the future of Canada, paving the way for the signing of the Treaty of Paris that gave the British control of North America east of the Mississippi, and forcing France to relinquish its claims on New Orleans and to give the lands west of the Mississippi to Spain for surrendering Florida to the British.
           
After the decisive battle, Britain’s maritime and colonial supremacy was assured, its hold on the thirteen American colonies tightened. The American participation in ousting the French as a North American power spurred the confidence of the people of New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, who began to agitate for independence from Great Britain. Sixteen years later, France, still bitter over the loss of most of its colonial empire, intervened on behalf of the patriots in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).
           
In Northern Armageddon, Peter MacLeod, using original research—diaries, journals, letters, and firsthand accounts—and bringing to bear all of his extensive knowledge and grasp of warfare and colonial North American history, tells the epic story on a human scale. He writes of the British at Quebec through the eyes of a master’s mate on one of the ships embroiled in the battle. And from the French perspective, as the British bombarded Quebec, of four residents of the city—a priest, a clerk, a nun, and a notary—caught in the crossfire.

MacLeod gives us as well the large-scale ramifications of this clash of armies, not only on the shape of North America, but on the history of Europe itself.

A stunning work of military history.
Even as the 250th anniversary of its outbreak approaches, the Seven Years' War (otherwise known as the French and Indian War) is still not wholly understood. Most accounts tell the story as a military struggle between British and French forces, with shifting alliances of Indians, culminating in the British conquest of Canada. Scholarly and popular works alike, including James Fennimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans, focus on the action in the Hudson River Valley and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Matthew C. Ward tells the compelling story of the war from the point of view of the region where it actually began, and whose people felt the devastating effects of war most keenly-the backcountry communities of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Previous wars in North America had been fought largely on the New England and New York frontiers. But on May 28, 1754, when a young George Washington commanded the first shot fired in western Pennsylvania, fighting spread for the first time to Virginia and Pennsylvania. Ward's original research reveals that on the eve of the Seven Years' War the communities of these colonies were isolated, economically weak, and culturally diverse. He shows in riveting detail how, despite the British empire's triumph, the war brought social chaos, sickness, hunger, punishment, and violence, to the backcountry, much of it at the hands of Indian warriors.

Ward's fresh analysis reveals that Indian raids were not random skirmishes, but part of an organized strategy that included psychological warfare designed to make settlers flee Indian territories. It was the awesome effectiveness of this “guerilla” warfare, Ward argues, that led to the most enduring legacies of the war: Indian-hating and an armed population of colonial settlers, distrustful of the British empire that couldn't protect them. Understanding the horrors of the Seven Years' War as experienced in the backwoods thus provides unique insights into the origins of the American republic.
"The frontier war for their nation's independence is little known to most Americans," writes historian William R. Nester. The American Revolution is commonly associated with specific -- and now nearly mythical -- locales such as the heights above Boston, the frozen Delaware River, and the snow-covered shanties at Valley Forge in 1777-1778, but pivotal events took place in the wooded, mountainous regions on the fringes of the thirteen colonies. In dank forests and at scattered forts, towns, and outposts, Americans, British, and Indians clashed in large-scale campaigns and small raids that often became bloody fights for land, home, family, and, ultimately, country. Despite the few popular and romanticized images of this aspect of the war -- such as the untamed Green Mountain Boys at Fort Ticonderoga and the notorious "Swamp Fox," Francis Marion -- frontier warfare was complex and brutal. Overlapping and conflicting loyalties produced uncertain, fluid alliances that could be shaped as much by greed as by patriotism, and old, deep-seated disputes and hatreds fueled the ferocity of the fighting, as whites slaughtered Indians and vice-versa. But the frontier war was not simply a violent sideshow; it significantly altered the course of the Revolution, whether by keeping the far-flung British Army dispersed, providing the Americans a key victory at Saratoga, or setting the stage for Yorktown in 1781. Its economic, military, and diplomatic effects would endure long after the guns fell silent. With vivid detail and keen analysis, Nester brings this long-obscured chapter of the War for Independence out from the shadows of Concord and Brandywine and reshapes how we understand American history.
The French and Indian War was the world’s first truly global conflict. When the French lost to the British in 1763, they lost their North American empire along with most of their colonies in the Caribbean, India, and West Africa. In The French and Indian War and the Conquest of New France, the only comprehensive account from the French perspective, William R. Nester explains how and why the French were defeated. He explores the fascinating personalities and epic events that shaped French diplomacy, strategy, and tactics and determined North America’s destiny.

What began in 1754 with a French victory—the defeat at Fort Necessity of a young Lieutenant Colonel George Washington—quickly became a disaster for France. The cost in soldiers, ships, munitions, provisions, and treasure was staggering. France was deeply in debt when the war began, and that debt grew with each year. Further, the country’s inept system of government made defeat all but inevitable. Nester describes missed diplomatic and military opportunities as well as military defeats late in the conflict.

Nester masterfully weaves his narrative of this complicated war with thorough accounts of the military, economic, technological, social, and cultural forces that affected its outcome. Readers learn not only how and why the French lost, but how the problems leading up to that loss in 1763 foreshadowed the French Revolution almost twenty-five years later.

One of the problems at Versailles was the king’s mistress, the powerful Madame de Pompadour, who encouraged Louis XV to become his own prime minister. The bewildering labyrinth of French bureaucracy combined with court intrigue and financial challenges only made it even more difficult for the French to succeed. Ultimately, Nester shows, France lost the war because Versailles failed to provide enough troops and supplies to fend off the English enemy.

On July 9, 1755, British regulars and American colonial troops under the command of General Edward Braddock, commander in chief of the British Army in North America, were attacked by French and Native American forces shortly after crossing the Monongahela River and while making their way to besiege Fort Duquesne in the Ohio Valley, a few miles from what is now Pittsburgh. The long line of red-coated troops struggled to maintain cohesion and discipline as Indian warriors quickly outflanked them and used the dense cover of the woods to masterful and lethal effect. Within hours, a powerful British army was routed, its commander mortally wounded, and two-thirds of its forces casualties in one the worst disasters in military history. David Preston's gripping and immersive account of Braddock's Defeat, also known as the Battle of the Monongahela, is the most authoritative ever written. Using untapped sources and collections, Preston offers a reinterpretation of Braddock's Expedition in 1754 and 1755, one that does full justice to its remarkable achievements. Braddock had rapidly advanced his army to the cusp of victory, overcoming uncooperative colonial governments and seemingly insurmountable logistical challenges, while managing to carve a road through the formidable Appalachian Mountains. That road would play a major role in America's expansion westward in the years ahead and stand as one of the expedition's most significant legacies. The causes of Braddock's Defeat are debated to this day. Preston's work challenges the stale portrait of an arrogant European officer who refused to adapt to military and political conditions in the New World and the first to show fully how the French and Indian coalition achieved victory through effective diplomacy, tactics, and leadership. New documents reveal that the French Canadian commander, a seasoned veteran named Captain Beaujeu, planned the attack on the British column with great skill, and that his Native allies were more disciplined than the British regulars on the field. Braddock's Defeat establishes beyond question its profoundly pivotal nature for Indian, French Canadian, and British peoples in the eighteenth century. The disaster altered the balance of power in America, and escalated the fighting into a global conflict known as the Seven Years' War. Those who were there, including George Washington, Thomas Gage, Horatio Gates, Charles Lee, and Daniel Morgan, never forgot its lessons, and brought them to bear when they fought again-whether as enemies or allies-two decades hence. The campaign had awakened many British Americans to their provincial status in the empire, spawning ideas of American identity and anticipating the social and political divisions that would erupt in the American Revolution.
England's capture of Canada in 1760 was the culmination of the French and Indian War and of a century and a half of conflict between Britain and France for control of the North American continent. During that long period, there were several English military efforts to evict the French, but all failed. Therefore, at the war's start, few among the English entertained serious thoughts of totally evicting France from all of Canada. Nor did the French consider such a result a serious possibility. Drawing heavily on primary sources, Brecher tells the dramatic story of why the war's outcome differed so sharply from original expectations. He does so from the vantage point of France, while demonstrating in greater depth than has been available to date the linkages between France's American policy and involvement in the Seven Years' War.

Brecher provides an unprecedently full-scale analysis of the political, military, social, and economic conditions of mid-18th-century France and its North American colony, New France. That analysis also examines the direct connection between those internal conditions and the results for France of the war that ended in 1763. In doing so, Brecher assesses France's military strategy and major battles in Europe and America, as well as the diplomatic goals Versailles set for itself in the conduct of the war. Further, he describes why France concurred in leaving not only Canada, but also the vast Louisiana territory, to be divided between England and France's belated wartime ally, Bourbon Spain. Finally, Brecher explains the longer-term implications of the war for North American development and for the future of France. This is an important study for students and scholars of French and colonial American history and for the broad reading public, as well as those interested in the more recent Quebec problem.

On the morning of August 9, 1757, British and colonial officers defending the besieged Fort William Henry surrendered to French forces, accepting the generous "parole of honor" offered by General Montcalm. As the column of British and colonials marched with their families and servants to Fort Edward some miles south, they were set upon by the Indian allies of the French. The resulting "massacre," thought to be one of the bloodiest days of the French and Indian War, became forever ingrained in American myth by James Fenimore Cooper's classic novel The Last of the Mohicans. In Betrayals, historian Ian K. Steele gives us the true story behind Cooper's famous book, bringing to life men such as British commander of Fort William Henry George Monro, English General Webb, his French counterpart Montcalm, and the wild frontier world of Natty Bumppo. The Battle of Lake George and the building of the fort marked the return of European military involvement in intercolonial wars, producing an explosive mixture of the contending martial values of Indians, colonials, and European regulars. The Americans and British who were attacked after surrendering, as well as French officers and their Indian allies (the latter enraged by the small amount of English booty allowed them by the French), all felt deeply betrayed. Contemporary accounts of the victims--whose identities Steele has carefully reconstructed from newly discovered sources--helped to create a powerful, racist American folk memory that still resonates today. Survivors included men and women who were adopted into Indian tribes, sold to Canadians in a well-established white servant trade, or jailed in Canada or France as prisoners of war. Explaining the motives for the most notorious massacre of the colonial period, Steele offers a gripping tale of a fledgling America, one which places the tragic events of the Seven Years' War in a fresh historical context. Anyone interested in the fact behind the fiction will find it fascinating reading.
"I'm tired, and the other pack mules are tired, and from the way you move I imagine that the rest of you donkeys are tired!" called out Jack Ridsdale, as the last of the mules and their drivers scrambled up the bank and gained a secure foothold on the little plateau.

"I move that we camp here for the night. All in favor say 'aye.' The motion's carried unanimously."

With that the tall boy threw off the pack that burdened his shoulders, set his gun up against a friendly tree and proceeded in other ways to relieve himself of the restraints under which he had toiled up the steep mountain side since early morning, with only now and then a minute's pause for breath.

"This is a good place to camp in," he presently added. "There's grazing for the mules, there's timber around for fire wood and I hear water trickling down from the cliff yonder. So 'Alabama,' which is Cherokee eloquence meaning 'here we rest.'"

The party consisted of five sturdy boys and a man, the Doctor, not nearly so stalwart in appearance, who seemed about twenty-eight or thirty years old. Each member of the party carried a heavy pack upon his back and each had a gun slung over his shoulder and an axe hanging by his girdle. There were four packmules heavily laden and manifestly weary with the long climb up the mountain.

As the boys were scarcely less weary than the mules they eagerly welcomed Jack Ridsdale's decision to go no farther that day, but rest where they were for the night.

"Now then," Jack resumed as soon as he got his breath again—a thing requiring some effort in the rarefied atmosphere of the high mountain peak—"we're all starved. The first thing to do is to get a fire started and get the kettle on for supper. If some of you fellows will unload the mules and get out the necessary things I'll chop some wood and we'll have a fire going in next to no time."

With that he swung his axe over his shoulder and stalked off into the nearby edge of the wood land. There with deft blows—for he was an expert with the axe—he quickly converted some fallen limbs and dead trees into a rude sort of fire wood which the other boys shouldered and carried to the glade where the Doctor had started a little fire that needed only feeding to become a great one.

During their laborious climb up the steep mountain side the party had found the early November day rather too warm for comfort; but now that the sun had sunk behind the mountain, and evening was drawing near, there was a sharp feeling of coming frost in the atmosphere, and as it would be necessary to sleep out of doors that night with no shelter but the stars, Jack continued his chopping until a great pile of dry wood lay near the fire ready for use during the night.

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